Financial Teamwork: The Thinker (Saver) and the Feeler (Spender) Cooperate
Gerry and Joan are like bookends. He is as loud and talkative as she is quiet and restrained. When it comes to their finances, as you might expect, he is the big spender and she is the saver. Gerry works hard and brings home a substantial paycheck. However, he also loves to spend and he often overspends compared to what he earns. Joan does her best to constrain him. She attempts to reason with him about not going into debt just to buy a flashier car. In general, Gerry sees the good sense in what Joan is saying, although he hates saying no to anything he wants. Joan keeps their books and takes care of their finances, but at times feels close to giving up when Gerry gets out of control.
Joan and Gerry were working on limiting their spending and staying within their budget using my twelve step Connecting Conversation. They had downloaded the ebook for free from my website: www.talk2myheart.com. As recommended, they had given each other rewards and appreciated their differences as a spender and a saver. They were watching the tones with which they spoke, and sending “I” statements instead of “you” statements.
Joan wanted help for them about using thinking and feeling energy. She knows she relates through thinking energy while Gerry uses feeling energy. She complained that at times she feels steamrollered by Gerry, like his energy gets the best of him. He cannot contain himself enough to listen. She likened Gerry to a horse headed for the barn at the end of a long day.
Gerry acknowledged that he is an extrovert and knows he can get on a roll where he talks too much and doesn’t listen enough. I talked to him about shifting from feeling energy with looser boundaries to thinking energy, like he would use when talking professionally with a colleague or speaking in front of a group. Gerry laughed and responded that even in those situations he has been known to get carried away and not shut up when he knows he should. He is clear that at times he offends Joan by talking over her and not listening to what she is trying to tell him.
I asked Gerry when he last got a ticket driving his car. I surmised there was a very high probably he either got stopped for speeding or running a stop sign. He blushed momentarily and asked, “How did you know?” He smiled but looked chagrined. He continued, “I just got stopped this last week for speeding. Now I have to go to drivers’ education class or pay a lot more for my car insurance.”
I asked him, “What was your energy like when you were talking with the police officer?”
“Oh,” he said, “I was on good behavior. I kept my mouth shut and just listened. I even said, yes, sir.”
I said, “From now on when Joan is talking with you about your finances I want you to see her as the police officer giving you a ticket. Behave with her the same way you did with the policeman.”
Gerry laughed. “I got it!” he said. “I can do that! Perhaps we should get a police hat for Joan to wear?” he quipped.
I replied, “If you start to talk too much and talk over her, you must buy her a police hat. Keep it where you can hand it to her any time she says she needs it when you two are talking.”
To date this solution has worked. When I last heard Gerry had not yet had to buy Joan the hat.
Gerry now has a way to get himself out of feeling energy and into thinking energy with better boundaries to contain himself. He is listening to Joan, who feels encouraged about how they are discussing and managing their finances.